Leaders have all the answers, right? They know the long-term vision and all the steps to get there, don't they? That delicate, awkward situation, yepthey have the perfect solution for that one too.
If only that were true! Whether you're leading an entire congregation, a few staff members, or several volunteers, you know there are times when you're not sure about the next step or solution. You don't want to look completely clueless in front of those counting on you to lead the way, but faking it doesn't seem right either. So, how do you move forward and lead your team when you're feeling less than confident?
Tip #1 Ask God for wisdom
God isn't trying to hide the right answer from you. Go to Him first and ask for His direction and wisdom on the matter.
"For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path."
Tip #2 - Ask your team
You have a team for a reason you can't get everything done on your own. Unless it's a confidential issue, talk with your team.
"I know the workload is increasing while our team isn't. We don't have the budget yet to hire additional staff. Until we do, how can we prioritize better or otherwise lighten the load?"
Ask for their input, ideas, and suggestions. This communicates your trust in your team and gets them involved in developing a solution.
Tip #3 - Reduce the noise
If you're stressed out by a difficult situation or decision, it's time to pause.
Go take a walk outside, shut your office door, or go to a remote corner of the sanctuary. Shut off all the noise the well-meaning, yet unhelpful advice you may have received, the drama, the potential hurt people may experience no matter which decision you make and breathe. "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
Tip #4 - Seek wise counsel
Someone else has likely already dealt with a similar situation. Call up a friend who's been in ministry longer than you and ask for advice. We all need mentors and peers who aren't directly involved at our church who can provide an unbiased viewpoint.
If you don't already have those relationships, start seeking them out.
Tip #5 - Take the next best step
You may not be 100 percent certain of your decision. There may not be a solution that makes everyone happy (in fact, that's probably the case most of the time). However, you need to move forward at some point. Take the time you need to make a good decision, but don't procrastinate looking for the perfect answer. Decide and then lead your team in that direction. If it works, great! If it's less than optimal, adjust as needed and learn from the situation. You'll do better next time.
Leadership isn't easy. People are depending on you to make wise decisions, to lead with confidence, and to know what to do next. You won't always know what to do right away, but these tips can make those moments a bit easier to navigate.